The words “mother”, “Maa (Urdu word for mother)”, “Mor (Pashto Word for mother) awakens a stir of sweet and powerful emotions in everyone’s hearts. The rare unconditional love could be linked with “Mother’s Love” for the relentless sacrifices and care by her. Therefore, the word “mother” is used for planet earth (mother-earth) and country of origin (mother-land) as these give in abundance to humans without any conditions.  Mother’s Day is vehemently celebrated across the world, in more than 50 countries, although different countries celebrate it on different dates.

Some countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May while in others Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10th of each year.  Mother’s Day is an annual public holiday in countries such as Costa Rica (August 15), Georgia (March 3), Samoa (second Monday of May), and Thailand (August 12). Restaurants and cafes on Mother’s Day are unusually busier in those countries as some people take their mothers out for a meal to spend time with them.

Early Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations to honor Rhea (the Mother of the Gods), in ancient Greek civilization, according to some sources.  Mother’s Day is an occasion celebrated to express reverence, care, and love towards mothers for their countless contribution towards making the lives of their children and families.

Mother’s Day in Pakistan in 2021 is on Sunday, 9 May 2021. The nation of Pakistan celebrates Mother’s Day each year on the second Sunday of May. This year too Mother’s Day will be observed with great affection and gratitude to mothers and motherhood, yet Mother’s Day is not a public holiday in Pakistan.

Just like on celebration of few other days as Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, Friendship Day, there is difference of opinion among masses in Pakistan, likewise Mother’s Day also faces disagreement for celebration on account of diverse beliefs; some claim that each day is a Mother’s Day and the care should be shown to mothers every day, while others claim to fix a specific day for showing gratitude towards the substantial struggle of “unsung sheroes as mothers” for their families.

The celebration of Mother’s Day in Pakistan also differs among people with different socio-economic status as some send flowers, Mother’s Day cakes, cards, mugs, sweets and other presents to their mothers on this day while others simply observe the day by giving time and hugs to their mothers. The questions are, could the celebration be more than “taking a selfie with mothers” on that day and beyond “posting Mother’s Day messages’ on social media? Could we take out time from our busier schedules to sit with our mothers and listen to them occasionally or more frequently? Could we even be more expressive in love towards them? Could we acknowledge and appreciate their efforts for shaping our lives? Could we thank them enough for all their sacrifices for us? Could we make them realize that they matter before it’s too late?

The women are always working (whether they are labelled as working women or housewives), but they are in the continuous process of struggling to keep honor of the families, take care of the children and other family members, perform household chores, remain intact with cultural values and societal norms, and the long list, that too, without any recognition. Most women in Pakistan live their entire lives within the four walls of their homes taking care of the needs of their families. Men being the head of family, enjoy more autonomy, and rights than do women with decision-making power within the home held by them, even when it pertains to the health, safety and wellbeing of women and children. Women mostly engage in multiple tasks at home at any given time, for instance holding or feeding a baby while preparing meals; caring for elderly, sick or differently-abled family members; in-case of working outside home- managing home chores too without any rest; sending children to schools/madrass and simultaneously openheartedly accepting the unjustified criticism from male members of the family.  

According to a report, women spend on average eight hours per day on “major” household tasks as cooking, cleaning, laundry etc, and on average sixteen hours per day on a range of additional or “minor” tasks. However, unfortunately, and ironically women themselves do not understand their huge contribution to establishing and maintaining family lives and tend to disregard/discount much of what they do by underestimating the significant role they play for families. This is partly due to the general prejudice that “work” involves paid labor, so that most women in our society would believe and say that they do not work despite spending literally all their life time on families and homes through huge sacrifices as of their career, leisure time, education, and even identity.

In recent time, the pandemic of COVID-19 has intensified the already existing gender inequalities with substantial implications on women in Pakistan. Owing to the sexual division of work, stereotypical gender roles, cultural and societal norms, the burden of unpaid labor falls disproportionately on women yet again.  

This year, let Mother’s Day be dedicated to all the women who work tirelessly without any recognition for their (unpaid) labor. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan shared in 1990’s interview, “My mother has great influence in my life, politics and even in sports and I was very close to her.”  Mothers are, no doubt, the most precious presents of our lives, although their love and care cannot be reciprocated, yet their struggles could be acknowledged through a self-commitment on upcoming Mother’s Day to spend more time with them before we lose them forever to the Angel of Death.

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